Bengaluru: At least 24 people died near Kanagana Maradi in Pandavpura Taluka of Mandya district, about 90 km from Bengaluru, after a private bus plunged into a canal.

The actual cause of the tragic incident remains unclear as locals and authorities try to pull out the bodies from the canal.

Karnataka chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy cancelled all engagements and left for the spot. Several other leaders, including former chief minister Siddaramaiah, also visited the spot on Saturday.

“Deeply pained by the bus accident in Karnataka’s Mandya. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased. May God give them strength in this hour of sadness," Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office wrote on Twitter.

“Extremely saddened to learn about the tragic bus accident in Mandya, Karnataka. Thoughts and prayers with the bereaved families and with the injured. I understand local authorities are making efforts to rescue and help affected passengers," President Ramnath Kovind wrote.

“I’m sorry to hear about the terrible bus accident in Mandya district of Karnataka in which over 20 people are feared dead & many others injured. I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the deceased & pray for the speedy recovery of the injured," Congress president Rahul Gandhi wrote.